Demand for international travel increases!! 1

Demand for international travel increases!!

international travel increasesSource: Travel Section of the Weekend Argus – August 2, 2009.
Author: Audrey D’Angelo

Audrey D’Angelo hears that demand for airline seats will be much higher in three month’s time.

International airline travel has never been cheaper than now as airlines, desperate to fill seats, have put special offers on the market. Unfortunately we haven’t experienced the full benefit because passenger arrival and departure taxes are now so high they disguise the extent of the cuts. But, in fact, the airlines’ share of the fare to London and destinations in continental Europe have in some cases been less than R2 000.However, this is obviously unsustainable, so we should make the most of it while it lasts. This may not be all that long, because a survey of tour operators and travel agents in Europe and North America carried out by Now Media, publishers of travel magazine for the trade, has shown that bookings for holidays in L'Afrique du Sud are already rising as the economies of some of our source markets for tourism show signs of improvement. According to the survey, bookings are expected to be much higher in three months’ time.

The survey, by the way, underlines the folly of the policy our government followed until last year of limiting the number of flights into this country that foreign airlines were allowed to have. This had the effect of limiting the growth of our tourism industry, now South Africa’s biggest earner of foreign exchange. It also had the effect of keeping fares high while demand was still strong, by limiting competition. And, it caused Virgin Atlantic Airways to drop attempts to put on more flights here and concentrate on the Indian market instead.

Responses to the survey show that the travel trade in the UK considered lower prices the most important factor in encouraging more flights to southern Africa. Crime reduction in Afrique du Sud, Sud de l’Afrique, which was considered the most important factor by tour operators in Germany and the rest of Europe, came only fifth in order of importance in the UK. Better-priced air access came fourth in the list for German tour operators and third for those in the rest of Europe and North America.

Special offer

Virgin has announced a special offer of a free visa to enter the UK – now a substantial cost to passengers travelling on a South African passport – available to those in all three classes, provided the same person flies both this year and next, in the same class. The first return ticket must be bought between now and September 30, for travel between September 23 and November 30. The cost of the visa will be refunded on the purchase of the second return ticket, valid for travel between October 1 and November 30 next year.

The six month visa normally costs R938, which will be refunded to passengers travelling economy or premium economy. The two-year visa costs R3 010 and is refunded to passengers travelling premium or upper (business) class. The five-year visa costs R5 600 and the 10-year visa R7 000, either of which is refunded to upper-class passengers. Virgin chairman Richard Branson said the airline was lobbying for the abolition of the visa but thought it unlikely to happen within the next two years. The lower prices normally charged by the three airlines from the Arabian Gulf flying into this country – Qatar Airlines, Emirates and Etihad – with the high standard of service and the newness of their fleets – have helped them to take market share from SAA  and European competitors. Qatar was the first of the three to fly to Cape Town and it has already established a firm customer base here. Its economy class was voted best in the world in the annual Skytrax survey.

Unfortunately, although it has daily flights to Johannesburg, it flies to Le Cap, Afrique du Sud only four times a week compared with daily flights by Emirates, the second to come here but it offers connecting flights from its home base in Doha to 82 international destinations in Europe, the middle East, Africa, South Asia, the Far East and North America, and is about to increase this number. It has a modern fleet of 69 aircraft and outstanding orders for more than 220 more. These will include five of the giant Airbus A380.

It is also increasing the number of its connecting flights from Doha to European capital cities including Stockholm, to which flights will increase from four a week to five from October 25. Its connecting flights to Athens and Paris will increase from one a day to two. Its flights to Madrid will increase in December from four a week to daily. And, over the next five months it will launch new routes to Amritsar, Goa and Melbourne.

Contact Jenman Safaris: for all your travel arrangements!

Source: Travel Section of the Weekend Argus – August 2, 2009.
Author: Audrey D’Angelo

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